(This article contains excerpts from an article by Dayna Straehley, published in the Press-Enterprise on March 21, 2014.)
U.S. veterans participate at King High Remembers. High school juniors interviewed 298 veterans and learned history from them Friday March 21. The crowd overflowed from the school gym into the multipurpose room and some classrooms.
U.S. Army Korean War veteran Charles Geitner, 85, an Illinois native now living in Fullerton, shares his experiences with Riverside King High School juniors Darrel Artiaga and Nicole Item. The school’s 11th graders interviewed 298 veterans during King High Remembers on Friday March 21. Photo Credit: Milka Soko
The veterans were interviewed across tables in the school gym, multipurpose room and in classrooms by groups of two or three 11th graders, who asked about their war experiences, military life, homecoming, their opinion of their time in the service and current conflicts.
When Sgt. Bert Frank got home from World War II after three years in the Army, he took off his uniform and threw it on the floor. He didn’t put it back on until Friday, March 21, when he wore it to King High School in Riverside. Frank, a 90-year-old Los Angeles resident, was among 298 veterans interviewed by high school juniors in the 14th annual King High Remembers. One of those students was his grandson Joel Frank.
Like many veterans, Frank, brought a scrapbook that included some mementos of happy experiences. He was in the Army from 1942 to 1945.
Frank told students about the dances they had almost every week while he was stationed in the Philippines and USO shows with Bob Hope, King Kaiser and others. The Army showed movies, but almost all of them were interrupted by bombers that sent soldiers running for their fox holes.
The King High Remembers event that took place on Friday that allowed students to interview veterans represented the seizing our destiny pillars intelligent growth, and unified city. By interviewing the veterans directly in small groups like this gave the high school students a very valuable opportunity to learn about not only our country’s history, but also the heritage and background of local heroes. Speaking to veterans from different branches of military from numerous wars, the knowledge instilled from the veterans certainly exemplified intelligent growth, by equipping the students with information and knowledge that can’t be taught in textbooks.
The experiences shared and interaction between two different generations was a great example of Riverside being a unified city. The students were able to have intimate conversations with a melting pot of veterans. Veterans from numerous military branches in attendance ranged in war involvement, age, ethnicity, and background. The diversity of attendees enabled the students to hear a broad perspective of experiences, and to understand the commonality among all of the veterans. They were given the opportunity to respect and value the cultural heritage, distinct needs and varied input of each of the veterans, while proactively engaging with them across generational gaps.
Some veterans served in two or more wars or did not list a war. Not all of the 361 who were expected showed up. Others arrived without advance notice, making for a total of 298, social studies teachers said.
KOREAN WAR: 57
VIETNAM WAR: 149
COLD WAR: 48
GULF WAR: 21
IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN WARS: 17
To read the full article, click here.